You are here
Young judge a contender for president
With the search for a new T&T’s President heating up, surprisingly a young contender has emerged. He is High Court judge Frank Seepersad. The T&T Guardian learned yesterday that the judge is being considered as a People’s Partnership Government nominee for the post of president, which becomes vacant next month when the term of incumbent President George Maxwell Richards’s ends.
At 40, Seepersad will be the youngest nominee for the post of the highest office in T&T. Seepersad, who was appointed to the judiciary last April, is the father of one and former president of the Assembly of Southern Lawyers. It is understood that he is being looked at because Cabinet is seeking to infuse youth into the office of the president, which is often been occupied by more mature persons. Seepersad also has no political ties.
Seepersad, when contacted yesterday, declined comment. “I am unable to speak to the media,” he said. At present, Seepersad presides in the civil courts. If he is to be offered as a nominee for election as president, he would have to resign from the judiciary.
Seepersad joins Speaker Wade Mark, former head of British Petroleum (BPTT) Robert Riley and political analyst Dr Hamid Ghany, all of whom have been tipped as possible candidates for the post. Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith and Chief Justice Ivor Archie are reportedly also being considered. Leader of Government Business, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal was contacted via text message to his cellphone for comment. He replied, via SMS was: “I did not hear that.”
Who is Frank Seepersad?
Frank Seepersad is a south-based defence and civil attorney. He is the son of former magistrate and deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Clyde Seepersad. He is married to Camille Ramkhelawan, a financial adviser at Republic Bank. They have a five-year-old daughter.
Seepersad graduated from the University of the West Indies with upper second-class honours and the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1996. He was named the second most outstanding student. He also graduated from the London School of Economics in 1997 with an LLM in intellectual property/alternative dispute resolution and civil litigation and topped the international LLM class. He received the most outstanding student prize.
He has practised law for the past 15 years. He started as an associate attorney at Hamel-Smith and Co in November 1997 and moved into private practice in 1998 at Seepersad and Seepersad, his family’s law firm. In March 2012 he resigned from private practice to take up an appointment at the Judiciary as a civil judge.
Last year, Seepersad became the youngest attorney to be appointed to the bench. Among the matters he presided over was the controversial extradition of Balram “Balo” Maharaj’s common-law wife, Doreen Alexander-Durity, last year. He is currently presiding over the Yasin Abu Bakr civil lawsuit against the State, in which the Jamaat-al Muslimeen is seeking damages for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Bakr’s civil trial is set to begin in March.
T&T’s first president under the republican constitution was Sir Ellis Clarke, who served from September 24, 1976 to March 19, 1987, and he was followed by President Noor Hassanali, who occupied office from March 20, 1987 to March 17, 1997.
Former Prime Minister Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson became this country’s third president, serving from March 18, 1997 to March 16, 2003.
Richards, this country’s fourth president, was elected in 2003 and has been serving to date. He is the first head of state in the Anglophone Caribbean of Amerindian ancestry.
Last week, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed announced that a meeting of the electoral college will be convened on February 15—three days after Carnival—for the election of a new president to replace Richards.
The electoral college is made up of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is convened by the speaker and its procedure is governed by the electoral college regulation 1976, made under Section 28:04 of the T&T Constitution.
Mohammed said in accordance with Section 26:04 of the constitution, an election for president shall be held not more than 60 days nor less than 30 days before the expiration of the term of that office. The election thus must be between January 17 and February 18.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.